Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)

The Contractions project

Tackling climate change requires growing both low-carbon energy technologies and phasing out carbon-intensive ones. ‘Contractions’ breaks away from the well-trodden past energy transitions research which focuses on the growth of new energy industries to study the decline of energy industries which are just as important for climate change mitigation.

Brown Coal Mining Garzweiler With Wind Turbines.
Brown Coal Mining Garzweiler With Wind Turbines.
CHROMORANGE / Martin Schröder / Alamy Stock Photo.

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During the project, we seek to understand the causes and consequences of declining energy industries (contractions). We will identify and quantify historical cases of energy industry contractions and compare them to the those needed to meet global climate targets. We explore several questions:

■ How frequently and under what conditions do energy industries contract?

■ What are the social and political consequences of energy industry contractions, and are there policies that have been successful in making these less painful?

■ How do historic energy industry contractions compare to future contractions which we would need to avoid massive climate change?

In addition to traditional research activities, we kicked-off the project with a stakeholder workshop to get input into our research plan from energy industry, government, and investment communities in order to ensure that our research is not only relevant to scientific communities but also to the business and policy communities we seek to inform. We also publish research insights on the polet.network blog and will publish a policy brief of our findings towards the end of the project.